All Star weekend is always a big performance for the NBA. It is the one weekend a year they can show off their best talents in a variety of ways, and throw a bash to celebrate yet another successful NBA season. As a Wolves fan, this was the most exciting All Star break in quite some time. We got to see Wes Johnson dominate in the rookie game like we expect him to someday do for the Wolves, and got to see Kevin Love represent our squad in the big game.
As far as production value, I thought this weekend excelled in nearly every aspect. The only part that seemed to lack was the pre-pregame “Magenta Carpet” show, which seemed a bit unorganized, but still was interesting enough to keep viewers on the channel in case they had watched SportsCenter 7-8 times through already on the blizzarding Minnesota day. As far as the dunk contest, three point contest, and even the celebrity game, there was enough highlights this year to span over a few years of standard All Star weekends. From Griffin jumping over a car, DeMar DeRozan doing one of the coolest dunks I have ever seen, some no name beating out all time greats in a three point contest, and Bieber extending his fever to the NBA, this was a weekend to remember. And that’s all without the two contests that include the Wolves’ players.
Wes Johnson started off the weekend with a bang! He went 10 for 15, connecting on 3 of 5 three pointers, all for 25 points, en route to the third best stat line on the victorious rookie squad. John Wall received the MVP because of his 22 assists (rookie game record), and DeMarcus Cousins had the most gaudy scoring figures (33 and 14), but Wes was easily the most efficient offensive weapon on the team. Cousins needed 24 shots to get to 33 points, and Wall only shot 5 times on his way to 12 points. Johnsons 66% clip would have gotten him to 40 points if he shot as many times as Cousins, but per usual with Wes, he took the good teammate path and never really demanded the ball.
Kevin Love capped off the weekend with a 2 point, 4 rebound performance in the All Star Game. He was only played just over 11 minutes, and he only put up 3 shots, but that shouldn’t have mattered to Wolves fans, as the game itself was the best in a very long time. For the first time since the pre-Vince Carter All Star Era, the All Star game had flow to it. There was defense played, and it looked like an actual competition instead of the now-standard “stand around on defense and watch the guy dunk on us” routine. It was the most refreshing part of the weekend to see the players take pride in the game that had become a mockery to NBA fans. And the worst part of all of this is the fact that I have to give LeBron James credit for this. TNT showed video of him riling up the East squad that was down to the West nearly the entire game. He was chewing guys out for not hustling, and not really caring about the outcome of the game. Surprisingly, it worked. It seemed like from that point, the East was able to get themselves back into the game, and if there were more time in the game (and Chris Bosh wasn’t a bonehead), they may have came back and won. Instead, Love received a perfect 1-0 record in All Star games, and Kobe Bryant tied for the all time lead in All Star Game MVPs.
Overall, this weekend was one to remember. The NBA should be proud that they coordinated not only a great All Star Game, but a great weekend of festivities to celebrate the league’s best players. Hopefully, this trend continues, and the NBA All Star weekend can be the standard for all professional sports in the future.